Friday, September 01, 2006

Why "chick-lit"?

A few people have asked (and no doubt others have wondered): Why the focus in this blog on men, love, sex, relationships? They have suggested that they would be very (more?) interested in my comments on other topics.

I guess the best answer to that question is: Because I don't know the answer! I don't know why I obsess about men, love, sex and relationships. I don't know why my sexuality is so closely tied to my identity.

All my life I've received mixed messages. Feminism has told me I don't need a man to be happy. Life (and my hormones) have told me otherwise. The past 10 years of pop culture have served me well in terms of giving me minor heroines to identify with.

"Sex and the City" hit the tv screen in 1998 and gave me and many other women a source of laughter and wonderful (sometimes shame-faced) moments of "I've been there! I totally relate!". In 1999 Helen Fielding's "Bridget Jones Diary" hit the bookshelves and then the theatres, followed by a plethora of "chick-lit" that explored women's quest for the ideal relationship.

Obviously I am not the only intelligent, beautiful, single woman struggling to figure out why men, love, sex and relationships still occupy so much of my emotional energy.

One blogger noted that chick-lit (from Austen & Bronte to Fielding and on) is ..."about searching for love mostly as a by-product of searching for identity."

Ah Hah! No matter how hard I may try I can not separate my search for love from my search for identity. Not yet anyway. Should I feel ashamed of this? I'm sure some of my hard-core feminist friends will feel ashamed for me - so I'll let them carry that burden. Hey - what are friends for.

Sarah Blustain briefly explored the "Sex and the City" phonomenon in a "New Republic Online" article (note that this link may not take you to the full article - but if you do a google search for "sex and the city" feminism, it will come up with the full article under the same url - GO FIGURE!).

Among other critiques and questions, Blustain notes that the show and it's popularity makes it clear that "the feminist movement should start asking questions of itself. Among them: Why is it that women so empowered are finding love so hard to find? What does it mean that the most educated and successful women are, as a group, less fertile than ever? Is there any real option for the single besides settling down? And for the single woman who doesn't settle down, what supports does she need for later in life?... How hard is it for such powerful women to fit into a well-functioning couple? ... What happens to such a woman's career when children come into the picture? And more generally, what happens to her hard-earned and long-lived financial and emotional independence?"

So - if you still want to know why the focus on men, love, sex and relationship in my blog - here is my final definitive answer: Cause I want to! So there!

(I, of course, reserve the right to change my mind at any time and write about whatever shit I feel like writing about.)

For an entry to a more 'academic' discussion on chick-lit check out:

Note: the pic in this blog entry is NOT my work - it is courtesy of microsoft clipart

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